The Borderite team placed second at the Western Washington 2A Region Wrestling Tournament hosted by Cedarcrest High School in Duvall this past weekend.
Blaine qualified eight wrestlers who will now carry on to compete at the state tournament, Mat Classic XXII, at the Tacoma Dome on February 19-20, where wrestlers in all high-school classifications in the state, both boys and girls, battle to determine the best in the state.
Blaine’s second place finish at regionals marks the second post-season tournament where the team took second. Fourteen teams representing two districts competed for top honors in the day-long tournament. After the finals at the end of a long day, coach Craig Foster said, “We still have a few days before state, and we’ll be in the wrestling room come Monday getting ready and making final adjustments.”
The eight wrestlers who placed in the top four at regionals and earned the right to move on to the next level are Shaypher Hendricks, 119, 2nd; Tony Jordan, 125, 2nd ; Jamal Mallak, 130, 2nd; Camden Nix, 140, 2nd ; AJ Pieczynski, 152, 3rd ; Shaffer Hicks, 189, 2nd; Joel Garza, 285, 4th; and Jeremy Holdaas who was the lone champion for Blaine at 215.
Holdaas easily handled his competition all day and finished first again. He is seeded as a top wrestler going into state.
Kelton Nix finished 6th, but was only shy a point or two in his last two matches in his attempt to make the state team.
At the end of the day, Foster said, “He was in those matches. Each time, with the crowd screaming, it came down to the final bell. What I like about Kelton is that he never gives up, and if you wrestle him, you know you’ve been in a tough bout. Every opponent and every coach in the gym knows Kelton is going to slap on his move, the Italian Neck Tie, but so far no one can stop it. He’s exciting to watch. Next year, he’ll make it to state.”
Coach Jim Rasar added that AJ Pieczynski looked tough all day, too. “AJ took it to the guys he wrestled; his fireman’s carry just keeps getting better and better.”
Joel Garza who wrestles heavyweight and often has to give up 50 pounds to his Amazonian opponents summed it up, “State is what we’ve been looking forward to all year; we can hardly wait to step on the mat and throw some people around.”